Challenging Authority 

Political group for young adults takes on school-board race.

November's school-board elections will have one more person in the running as Memphis' newest young-adult organization presents a candidate for the 7th District position.

The organization, New Path, is supporting candidate Tomeka Hart for the school-board seat. The position is currently held by longtime board member the Rev. Hubon Sandridge. Sandridge's district covers 31 schools, including Westside High, Georgian Hills Junior High, and Manassas High. Five of the city's 16 schools on the final stage of restructuring to meet No Child Left Behind guidelines fall within District 7.

New Path's spokesperson, Cradell Orrin, said this race is a good way to get involved in politics.

"The difference between us and other organizations like Mpact Memphis and the Urban League Young Professionals is that those groups are nonprofits or affiliates of nonprofits. Because of that status, they really can't take a stand on political issues," said Orrin.

The new group, although not organized as a nonprofit, has not yet settled on a profit status and may become a political action committee. The group, like the two mentioned by Orrin, caters to young adults ages 21 to 24. They are nonpartisan but encourage political participation through accountability studies and supporting and recommending candidates for public office.

"We have a lot of people from various social and racial backgrounds. That gives us a good mix," said Orrin. "This group is about young people taking responsibility for our community."

Orrin said Hart is New Path's first candidate, but the group is already looking at other races and positions to enter candidates or evaluate existing policies within the city and county.

E-mail: jdavis@memphisflyer.com

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